Canada’s Walk of Fame held a fundraising night of music in the gardens of Casa Loma castle on Wednesday night, the Gothic Revival style house built as a residence for financier William Pellatt and designed by noted Toronto architect E.J. Lennox in the era of World War 1.
The event was nothing if not spectacular and orchestrated superbly by Walk of Fame’s newly anointed CEO and noted impresario, Jeffrey Latimer.
He was able to give the rundraiser added lustre, and attract a cast of notables who coughed up as much as $350,000 for the not-for-profit foundation honouring Canadians who have achieved distinction in sports, entertainment, arts and culture, and public service.
The actual Walk consists of a series of maple leaf stars embedded in 13 designated blocks of sidewalks in Toronto, located in front of Roy Thomson Hall, The Princess of Wales Theatre, and The Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street as well as Simcoe Street.
The first group of members was inducted in 1998 after the idea for it was put forward in 1996 by co-founder, Peter Soumalias. Two years later, having partnered with Bill Ballard, Dusty Cohl, and Gary Slaight, the event was launched.
That’s the background, and here’s the story from Wednesday from the gardens at Casa Loma.
Some of Canada’s most talented singer-songwriters and musical headliners came together in Toronto on August 2 for Music Under The City Stars, an exclusive fundraising event at the majestic Casa Loma presented by Canada’s Walk of Fame (WoF), Walter and Maria Schneider, Jeffrey Latimer Entertainment and Liberty Entertainment Group.
The intimate affair with 200 VIP guests raised over $350,000 for the HoF.
Surrounded by the castle’s spectacular gardens at sunset, guests were wined and dined while experiencing an evening of memorable musical performances and first-time collaborations from a diverse range of artists, all accompanied by the Andy Kim Band.
The opening was a medley performed by the evening’s host Sean Cullen.
Longstanding country star and singer Michelle Wright then delivered her hit songs “Take It Like A Man” and “Safe In The Arms of Love,” followed by Kayla Diamond who performed her chart-topper “Carnival Hearts” and a cover of The Weeknd’s “Starboy.”
Jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky wowed the audience with her single “Something New,” complete with a horns section, and then invited Glass Tiger’s own Alan Frew to the stage to join her in singing the 2010 Olympic theme song “I Believe.”
Renowned composer Stephan Moccio joined the performance on the piano, marking the first time that the three delivered this song together. Frew went on to sing a couple of his hits, including “Someday.”
Just before the intermission, The Eagles’ Don Felder made a surprise guest appearance, disarming the captive audience with “Take it Easy” and “Hotel California.”
Andy Kim and Ron Sexsmith had the crowd moving with classic hits “Baby I Love You” and “Sugar, Sugar.”
Canadian comedian and impressionist Andre-Philippe Gagnon entertained with a medley of Canadian songs in his signature style – from The Guess Who to Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and The Weeknd, while Sean Jones delivered a soulful performance of “I’ll Never Smile Again ”by Canadian Ruth Lowe , and pop singer and songwriter Jonathan Roy sang his hit “Face Brave.”
Corey Hart told stories and sang a few songs before closing the night as he brought the house down with his hit song “Never Surrender.”
The annual gala with inductees will be staged later this year.
More pictures from the event by George Pimentel can be viewed here.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Bob Ezrin, award-winning Canadian music and entertainment producer
Jim Treliving, CBC’s Dragon’s Den
Arlene Dickinson, CBC’s Dragon’s Den
Peter Soumalias, Founder, Canada’s Walk of Fame
Board of Directors
Cathy Honor, Board Chair, Senior Vice President, RBC Royal Bank
Nick Di Donato, President & CEO Liberty Entertainment Group
Lewis Rusen, Vice Chairman, Korn Ferry HayGroup
Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media
Tom Anselmi, President & CEO Ottawa Senators Hockey Club
Dan McGrath, COO Cineplex Entertainment
Walter Schneider, President & Co-Founder, ReMax Integra/ReMax Europe
Barbara Williams, President & COO Corus Entertainment Inc.